Nearly three decades after he started out as a banking trainee at the old Franklin National Bank, Brendan J. Dugan has been named president and chief operating officer of its successor, European American Bank.
Mr. Dugan, 48, rejoined European American in 1992 as executive vice president in charge of corporate banking. He succeeds Edward Travaglianti, who was named chairman and chief executive of European American in July.
From 1989 to 1992, before he rejoined EAB, Mr. Dugan served as president of National Westminster Bank USA.
His latest appointment caps several years of reorganization at European American, which has gradually reemerged as a full-fledged banking unit.
Based in Uniondale, N.Y., European American was acquired in 1990 by Amsterdam-based ABN Amro from a consortium of European banks after running into severe real estate and Third World lending problems in the late 1980s.
As part of the reorganization, European American transferred some $700 million in bad loans to its parent company and refocused on building consumer and middle-market lending on Long Island and in New York City. The bank also combined its back-office processing with LaSalle National Bank, the Chicago-based retail banking unit of ABN Amro.
Since 1992, assets have climbed nearly 60% to $7.6 billion and profits have rebounded. The bank earned $58.6 million for the first half of this year, up 44% over a year earlier.
"We've been reengineered," Mr. Dugan said. "And this time around, we'll be sticking to our knitting."
He said the bank's would continue building consumer and middle-market business both on Long Island and in New York City, where 25 of its 86 branches are located.
That means targeting areas like mortgages, credit cards, car loans and car leases, and refinancing relationships with middle-market companies in Nassau and Suffolk counties and in New York.
Mr. Dugan expressed satisfaction with renewed efforts in New York's five boroughs. "We lost our way in New York City, but we've finally gotten our name back out there and are rebuilding our relationships," he said.
He added that the bank would avoid becoming involved in the large corporate lending and syndications that caused problems several years ago.
ABN Amro, European American's parent, has some $53 billion in U.S. assets, making it the largest foreign bank in the United States.
Mr. Dugan discounted the possibility that ABN Amro might seek to spin off European American as another foreign bank, as National Westminster PLC, is seeking to do to its own U.S. retail banking unit.
He also suggested that European American is well positioned to pick up some of the customers disaffected by recent megabank mergers, such as the recently announced deal between Chase Manhattan Corp. and Chemical Banking Corp.
"No one has yet proven that big is necessarily good when it comes to delivering services," Mr. Dugan said, adding:
"And no one involved in these mergers seems to be really focusing on the customers."